'Small but mighty crowd' at 'No Place For Hate' rally in Elk Grove Village

This story has been updated to correct the spelling of Scott Saxe's name.

Sixteen-year-old Aliya Blackburn said she loved hearing the message at a rally Saturday morning in her hometown of Elk Grove Village that people should support and stand up for one another.

Her mother agreed, saying that as Muslim-American women, they understand the plight of those who can be targeted. "If there is someone that gets hated on in America," Mina Blackburn said, "we all need to help each other."

The two attended the "America Has No Place For Hate" rally held by Indivisible Elk Grove Township at the Rotary Green in Elk Grove Village, where speakers called for eradicating hate and promoting dialogue.

"We are a nation of laws but also a nation of immigrants," U.S. Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi said. "We may have come on different ships, but we are all on the same boat together."

Mike Ziri, director of policy for Equality Illinois, which promotes acceptance of the LGBTQ community, said it's important for people to be authentic and tell their own stories.

"Yes, it's scary, but this gives hope. This is the light in some of the darkness," he said. "Telling your stories and voting are two powerful ways to fight bigotry and hate."

The Indivisible movement started after President Donald Trump's election and consists of local groups that "engage in progressive advocacy and electoral work at the local, state, and national level," its website says.

Elk Grove Mayor Craig Johnson said he was concerned the rally would turn political but was reassured after speaking with the organizers. "This is actually what we need in this country," he said of the theme. "We don't need to tear someone down."

Resident Cathy Mori, who came with a friend, said she read about the rally in her church bulletin. Mori said she was somewhat disappointed in the size of the crowd, which amounted to less than 30 people, including organizers and 10 speakers.

Still, "each person can have a huge impact," said state Sen. Laura Murphy, a Des Plaines Democrat.

Resident Scott Saxe agreed. "It was a small but mighty crowd this morning," he said. "If we all get the word out, it's going to get bigger."

  Elk Grove Village Mayor Craig Johnson said he was concerned an "America Has No Place For Hate" rally Saturday morning would turn political. Instead, "this is actually what we need in this country," he said. Joe Lewnard/
  Itedal Shalabi of Arab American Family Services spoke during the "America Has No Place For Hate" rally Saturday at the Rotary Green in Elk Grove Village. Joe Lewnard/
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